Inspired by the ingredients traded along the old spice routes in India and Sri Lanka, the best-selling cocktail at San Jose and San Mateo, Calif.’s Mortar & Pestle Bar, by beverage director Lucas England, balances the spicy and the lightly sweet. “Swapping in rum for whiskey in an Old Fashioned is a great way to surprise guests with warm, spiced flavors,” says England. “If the rum is overproof, it can be softened with sugar syrups or bitters.”
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over ice.
Garnish with a lemon and orange peel.
*Garam masala syrup: Bring 1 cup water to a simmer, remove it from the heat, and add 1 cup sugar and 2 tbsp, plus 2 tsp garam masala powder. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then let the spices steep for 10 minutes. Fine-strain out solids through a cheesecloth, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.